GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Muffler Man on 28th is there for all Grand Rapids' car repair needs, but don't let the name fool you.
“A lot of people will be like 'it’s the Muffler Woman now,'" General Manager Alyssa Jansma said. "It's definitely ironic."
Jansma knows that her leadership position is rare in such a male-dominated field. She sees it as an opportunity to help everyone feel comfortable, especially other women.
"Initially, they'll come then when somebody with them, and then as time goes on, if they continue to be a repeat customer, they start to come in by themselves," Jansma said. "You notice that like trickle down effect, and they start to get more comfortable."
It's a similar story at another women-led Grand Rapids repair shop.
“Our focus is to make sure that people feel comfortable," Jamie Carlson said. She runs Ervine's Auto Repair, which she co-owns with her husband.
Both shops agree trust is more important now than ever, with the rise of inflation.
"A lot of people that are trying to cut costs, and as such are going to like backyard mechanics and stuff like that," Jansma said.
ABC News reports that prices at the repair shop have jumped 23%. That's a rate almost four times higher than overall increases.
"Then people will go on and maybe look online for prices. And the there is a huge problem with just garbage parts online," Carlson said.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics says women made up only 9% of those employed in the automotive repair industry in 2020. Both Jansma and Carlson hope to see that change and encourage more women and minorities to get involved in the field.
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